Recruitment for a guided self-help binge eating trial: Potential lessons for implementing programs in everyday practice settings

Lynn L. DeBar, Bobbi Jo Yarborough, Ruth H. Striegel-Moore, Francine Rosselli, Nancy Perrin, G. Terence Wilson, Helena C. Kraemer, Rory Green, Frances Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore effects of various recruitment strategies on randomized clinical trial (RCT)-entry characteristics for patients with eating disorders within an everyday health-plan practice setting. Methods: Randomly selected women, aged 25-50, in a Pacific Northwest HMO were invited to complete a self-report binge-eating screener for two treatment trials. We publicized the trials within the health plan to allow self-referral. Here, we report differences on eating-disorder status by mode and nature of recruitment (online, mail, self-referred) and assessment (comprehensive versus abbreviated) and on possible differences in enrollee characteristics between those recruited by strategy (self-referred versus study-outreach efforts). Results: Few differences emerged among those recruited through outreach who responded by different modalities (internet versus mail), early-versus-late responders, and those enrolling under more comprehensive or abbreviated assessment. Self-referred were more likely to meet binge-eating thresholds and reported higher average BMI than those recruited by outreach and responding by mail; however, in most respects the groups were more similar than anticipated. Fewer than 1% of those initially contacted through outreach enrolled. Conclusions: Aggressive outreach and screening is likely not feasible for broader dissemination in everyday practice settings and recruits individuals with more similar demographic and clinical characteristics to those recruited through more abbreviated and realistic screening procedures than anticipated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-333
Number of pages8
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Binge eating
  • Clinical trials
  • Eating disorders
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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